Honestly, I don’t get all the hate store-bought pasta sauces get. I mean sure, most of them are garbage but there are some pretty good ones too. Although I like making alfredo sauce from scratch with equal parts of Parmigiano-Reggiano and butter, there are days when I’m too lazy to do anything more than just boil some fettuccine.
I love experimenting with different brands instead of sticking to just one brand till my last breath. Among all the brands I’ve tried so far, here are my top 5 picks.
While none of these match the heavenly goodness of an authentic alfredo sauce, they are good enough for a quick and easy dinner for busy nights.
Reviews of My Top 5 Favorite Store-Bought Alfredo Sauces
5. Prego Homestyle Alfredo Sauce
I have purchased this sauce a couple of times and I’ve been fortunate enough to not receive a broken jar even once. It’s one of the cheapest alfredo sauces around and taste-wise, it’s well above average.
If you are short on money and don’t care about the culinary opinions of Italian grandmas, you should definitely go for it. To make the sauce taste better, I’d suggest adding some grated parmesan cheese (or any cheese you’ve got), some minced garlic, some pepper, and cajun seasoning into the sauce.
On a non-stick skillet, give the mixture a gentle simmer before adding your pasta. Don’t forget to finish off with crushed pepper and some more grated cheese. You can also use this sauce in a dish where the taste of the sauce won’t have to prominently stand out.
For example, use it to make ranch dip or drizzle it on your grilled chicken, baked fish, or casserole mac and cheese.
4. Rao’s Homemade Alfredo Pasta Sauce
One of those rare breeds of premade Alfredo sauce that doesn’t require any additional seasoning to taste good. But you can definitely add your choice of seasonings to elevate the flavor.
I wish the sauce was a little thicker, though, just like their line-up of red sauces. Other than that, it’s almost perfect for its price. Not just pasta, you can use it to elevate any dish that calls for a white, creamy sauce, be it chicken, veggies, or seafood.
However, those who are not a big fan of the taste of black pepper might find Rao’s alfredo sauce a bit too peppery for their liking.
3. Classico Creamy Alfredo Pasta Sauce
Except for the pesto, I am fond of each and every sauce of this brand, and so is my family. Their gluten-free alfredo sauce is creamier than the previous two sauces mentioned above. I like that it’s not too salty, so you can adjust the amount of salt per your taste.
I would spruce it up with some crushed red pepper, cajun seasoning, Italian seasoning, and salt and pour it generously over boiled pasta, scalloped potatoes, broccoli cheese casserole, baked halibut, homemade pizza, etc.
It also goes great with baked pasta dishes like cheesy spinach alfredo lasagna and baked spaghetti.
On the downside, given the price, I wish the jar was a little bigger.
2. Ragu Pasta Sauce, Classic Alfredo
Arguably the most globally recognized American pasta sauce brand, Ragu alfredo tastes like nostalgia to me. I can eat it straight from the jar, with nachos, fries, or literally anything. It’s a creamy, lip-smacking medley of parmesan and romano cheese. The flavor of the cheese definitely stands out in Ragu.
I’ve made mac and cheese with this sauce for years and my kids absolutely love it. You can also mix it with a fiery red sauce to prepare pink sauce pasta for someone who loves spicy food. It makes for an excellent dip for deep-fried goodies too.
Taste-wise, there isn’t much to complain about. I don’t expect it to taste as good as a freshly made alfredo sauce and nor, should you?
Just be careful with that massive, fragile glass jar. Manhandle it and you will be cleaning that gooey mess off the floor for eternity.
1. Bertolli Alfredo Sauce with Aged Parmesan Cheese
To me, this is the closest a store-bought alfredo sauce can get to a freshly made sauce. This one has been my go-to brand for quite some time now and I’ve never noticed a drop in the consistency or taste of the sauce. It’s creamy but not too heavy.
It’s mild but not bland. In short, you can season it with garlic, pepper, and spices all you want without masking the cheesy flavor. Due to the thick and creamy texture, it makes for an excellent substitute for mayo in sandwiches.
Be it a hearty baked mac and cheese or fancy-schmancy fancy-schmancy ravioli, it elevates any dish it becomes a part of. Even quite a few pasta-snob Italians have spoken highly of it on various food forums which speaks volume about this product’s quality.
The packaging is also fine as is. If you receive a broken jar, that’s not necessarily Bertolli’s fault.
I reiterate that none of these sauces can replicate the simple but incredibly delicious taste of a freshly made alfredo sauce. Real alfredo sauce has only three ingredients in it – butter, parmesan cheese, and a little bit of pasta water to combine everything.
You don’t need any heavy cream for alfredo sauce. All store-bought sauces use a cream-base to mimic the texture of the authentic stuff. That’s fine as long as you’re not expecting a gourmet experience.